For better or worse, I was thinking theologically in the shower this morning.
Ponder, as I did, that once-common Unitarian Christian claim that “we don’t practice the religion about Jesus, but the religion ofJesus.” Well, I don’t believe that. However well we dig down to Jesus’ idea and ideal of religion, it comes mediated through the very community of faith that very much practices a religion about him. Whatever claims are made of Jesus’ humanity and deity, it seems hard to image Christianity without having fellowship with his living presence. Without that fellowship, what remains becomes something other than Christian. Sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly, but different. And it doesn’t take that long.
Christianity will always be, to some degree and probably always to a very great degree, about Jesus and not of him. I’d like to unpack that a bit more some other time.
Now, I would like to take that of/about dynamic a farther by a degree. I think Unitarian Universalism is about Christianity, if not a faith of it. Yes, there are Unitarian and Universalist Christians and needn’t rehearse this fact. But even among those Unitarian Universalists for whom Christianity is alien, unknown, unwelcome or even hated, Christianity is the enduring context. Our polity, style of worship, forms of leadership, history, connections, lingo and culture has direct and subtle traces of its Christian aboutness. If it’s only a habit, it’s one not broken after decades of neglect and deprecation. That’s more than tradition, which suggests a past connection and for which there’s little esteem today, but continues as an itchy and integral part of our identity.
It follows, I think, that we ought to be more careful to cultivate relationships with unambiguously Christian individuals and entities. Whatever we may choose from the interchange, we surely would learn more about ourselves.
If there’s going to be one Christian service of communion in a Unitarian Universalist (or Universalist or Unitarian) churches in a year, it will probably be in Holy Week: at Maundy Thursday, Palm Sunday or perhaps (a bit eccentric, but probably a surviving morsel of Victorian liberal theology) Good Friday.
There’s a hint, but not a confirmation, that there’s going to be a service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Florence (South Carolina). Which makes me wonder, which churches (especially the non-Christian ones) will have a recognizably Christian service of communion soon?
Here’s your chance to drum up some interest.
Box Populi is a specialized Linux distribution for making obsolete desktop computers into efficient and easy-to-use podcast generators. It sounds so easy . . . .
The MAKE magazine blog is touting it, as there’s a scheduled May installfest. I’m interested, in part because First Unitarian Church, Portland, Oregon uses it. (Note their webcast in a box product fails the standard of being free.)
The Washington Post wrote Sunday about the charms of the South Shore, south of Boston, and refers specifically to Hingham Old Ship Church, which is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Indeed, I think there’s a Unitarian “First Parish” in each of these towns.
I know this article says nothing new to several noteworthy bloggers and many, many Unitarian Universalists, but it is sure looks purdy.
“Classic New England: Five for the Road” (April 22, 2007)
I was so tied up getting Day Job (which started today!) that I failed to mention that the Ministerial Fellowship Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Association transferred my fellowship to Associate Fellowship standing.
This is good news and and an appropriate step; the alternative would have been retiring my fellowship. Wherever I end up, I need some time to think carefully and move slowly.
Oxford University Press has put out a jolly useful title, The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer: A worldwide survey which I’ve checked out of the library twice and am prone to buying. A review this week in the Church TimesÂ reviews this work and makes reference to the section about the King’s Chapel prayer book. For those unaware, King’s Chapel, Boston, is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
Hat tip: Anglicans Online